How To Fix Very Slow Forex Trading Platform

Slow performing or frozen Forex platform occurs more often when there is an overload on the resources of the platform or computer or data corruption in any vital object of the trading platform or an EA/indicator crash. Sometimes the effects also spills over to the overall performance of the computer. 

This article helps you to detect the cause, source, and solutions to very slow or persistent frozen platforms.

Computer programs that demands high resources are usually prone to crashes because they are often denied the required resources that would allow them perform optimally due to other tasks on the queue demanding for resources as well. Your MetaTrader Trading Platform is one of such computer programs.

Clarification: Computer resources are mainly the computer processing speed, hard disk storage, and memory.

MetaTrader Trading Platform like every other trading platforms are data-centric i.e. they require data to give results or perform their functions effectively. The data here is the currency feed or market price, which is downloaded in ticks from feed providers through your broker to your platform. The tick data is continuously downloaded as long as the Forex market is active, and your platform is connected online. Without this data feed you would not be able to get market prices to trade, and any disruption or disconnection from this feed would cause truncation of data, which results to common issues like "requote", "no network", "wrong TP/SL values", and outright freezing of the platform.
Before we present the causes, and sources of platform sluggish performance, let us see the requirements needed for the installation and operation of a trading platform. For this guide we will be using MetaTrader 4. 

System Requirements
Minimum Requirements Recommended Requirements
Operating systems: Windows 2000,XP/Vista/7
Processor: 1.5 GHZ
Screen resolution: 1024×768
Internet Requirements: - Broad band internet connection
Hard Disk: 100GB 
Internet Explorer version 7.0 / Mozilla Firefox 20 upwards or the latest release of the browsers.

Operating systems: Windows Vista/XP/2000
Processor: 2 GHZ or higher
RAM: 2 GB or more
Screen resolution: 1280×1024 or higher
Internet requirements: – Modem/connection speed 36.6 Kbps or faster
Hard Disk: 200GB or higher
Internet Explorer version 10.0 / Mozilla Firefox 24 or the latest release of the browsers.

The two (2) major sources of sluggish platforms or persistent frozen platforms are low computer resources, and platform object issues.

If you frequently experience either of the symptoms below then your computer is likely the source of the problem. You need to see a computer technician or source for guides on the internet on how to maintain/re-install your operating system.
  1. Strange and uncoordinated mouse/keyboard movements.
  2. Sudden system crashes especially after booting the computer.
  3. Most programs generate error messages when they are opened.
  4. You get weird system error messages on a blue screen and then sudden system halt.
  5. Programs take an unusual time to open often.
  6. Copying and saving to hard disk or external drives is a herculean task.
In some cases resource leaks could be the problem. Resources leaks are computer programs, which do not release your computer's system resources when needed and thereby cause your computer to become unstable. Rebooting your computer should resolve this kind of problem. A better way of managing resource leak is to turn off programs after using them.

To see your computer performance and resource management, follow this steps. 
  1. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL. This will activate the Windows Security Window with options like: Lock, Switch User, Log Out, Change Password, Windows Task Manager, e.t.c. Click the Windows Task Manager.

  2. On the Windows Task Manager click the Applications Tab. You should see a list of Programs with their status. If the Trading Platform is frozen the status would change from running to "not responding".

  3. Click the Performance tab to see the CPU usage and Memory including a graph of the peaks. CPU usage above 80% to 100% peak is an extremely serious case.

  4. Click the Process tab to see the objects running at the background of the computer. Find terminal.exe on the Image Name column. Look at the far right for the value on the Memory (private working set) column. This is the value of the amount of memory being consumed by the application (terminal.exe). An extreme high value means something is wrong. An ideal value should be around 300,000k to 500,000k max. Higher activities would go as high as 700,000k.

From the illustration above we can see that my MetaTrader 4 is consuming over 800,000 bytes of the computer memory. (Actually i posted this when i had an issue with an indicator on my chart.) 

The windows task manager is the best utility to help detect causes and sources of program crashes. Keep this utility open while we undergo the troubleshooting steps.
  1. Overloading your charts with too many indicators, and expert advisors beyond its capacity. This is a common cause of platform crashes. Some indicators are poorly written without error traps, which floods the computer with too many dumps and errors to handle.

  2. Overloading the bars in the charts beyond what your computer resources can manage. MetaTrader 4 trading platform is capable of taking a maximum number of 999999999999 bars in the history and charts. Actually you do not need more than half of this unless for back testing purpose.

  3. Opening too many charts beyond the capability of your computer resources. MT5 allows more charts to be opened seamlessly with less resource restraints.

  4. Trading with an outdated platform. New versions comes with solution to bugs, and enhancements.

  5. Opening many instances of the same trading platforms.

  6. Extreme volatility especially during core news release.

  7. Very poor internet connectivity.

  8. Data corruption of your platform's log files, and system files.

First follow the steps above (how to see your computer performance and resource management). Leave the windows task manager open for the rest of the steps.  
  1. Elimination method: Most times when you place a new indicator or expert advisor on your chart, the platform freezes immediately.
    • Disconnect your internet connection to release the platform from its frozen or sluggish state.
    • Take out the indicator or expert advisor. Restart the trading platform (optional), and reconnect the internet.
    • Check the application status from the windows task manager if it is running. Check if the values of the process object (terminal.exe) has reduced. Also check the CPU usage and memory usage if it has dropped. 
    • Normally your trading platform should return back to normal otherwise repeat this steps until you identify the indicator or expert advisor causing the problem.

  2. Reduce Price Bars: There are two major needs for price bars in your trading platform, which is "bars in history" and "bars in charts". The bars in history is required for back testing purposes. When your platform downloads tick data, they are stored in the history folder in your hard disk. The "bars in chart" are the candles on your chart in the form of price you trade with. The chart can take a bearable number of bars depending on your system resources. A high number of bars would need a high number of resources to handle object painting on the screen, calculations, drawing, and execution of other tasks in nano or mini seconds.

    Reducing the numbers of "bars in chart" by 50% would reduce memory and resource consumption, which would enable faster platform performance.

  3. Be careful with indicators that repaints. They are resource consuming. Examples are automatic trendline drawing systems.

  4. Don't overload your charts with indicators, and expert advisors. Use magic numbers to allow one expert advisor trade other charts rather opening many charts with the same expert advisor.

  5. Update your trading platform regularly. The latest build for MT4 is build 509.

  6. Ensure your computer meets the system requirements needed for your trading platform and other external trading resources. It is better to watch live news streaming for news release on cable satellite television while preparing to trade the news. This will reduce the bandwidth and resources your computer would consume.

  7. Inform the developer of your indicator or expert advisor about your experience while using their products. Request for light weight versions.

  8. Carryout a complete re-installation of your trading platform to restore corrupt data files.

  9. Upgrade your operating system, and memory.

Here are some utilities and tools you could use to check and fix corrupt system files that causes overall sluggish performance:

1. DLL Suite: An advanced Microsoft Windows DLL files  fixer, a DLL repair tool that allows you to fix DLL errors, fix EXE errors, fix SYS errors, fix corrupted files and download missing DLL files for Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP PCs, both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.  

2. Registry Nurse: An award-winning Windows Registry cleaner that helps you scan your PC, safely clean the errors & invalid entries cause system slow, freezing and crashing, and repair registry problems to speedup your computer performances with simple operation.

As you take each of these steps, go back to the Windows Task Manager, to see the effect of the action. A reduction in the memory, and CPU usage shows positive results.

We'll be glad you share any tips on this subject to help other traders like you.